Wednesday, 16 July 2008

What heartaches lie in store? - 2008

There’s nothing quite like the anticipation of a new season. Everyone starts from scratch and for the last time you’re level on points with Man United. The long summer months have dragged along with never ending transfer sagas that usually end in disappointment. I quite like the fact that the teams I support are never expected to win anything – okay Spurs think they should but they very rarely realise that expectancy. I’m the eternal pessimist when it comes to my teams, I always assume they’re going to lose which should soften the blow when it happens, but it doesn’t quite work like that. Anyway, here’s what I’m looking at for the coming season.

Tottenham Hotspur – As the time of writing, Berbatov and Keane are still with the club but both are heavily linked with moves to Man U and Liverpool respectively. We all expected Berba to be gone as soon as the final whistle went last year but to lose both of them could cause us some major difficulties up front, especially with Defoe gone and Bent likely to head to Sunderland. There’s talk of Santa Cruz and Bentley coming from Blackburn, but that could just be talk. We’ve nearly signed some brilliant players over the years!! Luka Modric looks a good signing if he can stay healthy but I know nothing about Dos Santos. Keeping Ledley King fit is vital – a back four of Hutton, King, Woodgate and Bale with Gomes in goal would be very competitive. As usual we’ll probably have a poor start with the autumn and winter spent trying to get back into the top half. Prediction – 6th.

Hereford United – Watching Hereford live is so much more rewarding than most of the Premiership games I’ve been to. There’s a realness to it - it seems to matter more to the players and the fans. It harks back to the days of hot bovril and a pie at half time. You stand behind the goal at Edgar Street and there isn’t the sanitised feel you get at the big games where you get reminded every five minutes to sit down by some headmaster – yeah, come on, sit down, where do you think you are, a football match? Last year I was convinced we were going to get relegated when Graham Turner could only register four players in preseason. But we kept going, always staying in the top four. With every win I was thinking that its all good to have the points in the bag before the inevitable slump. The last thing we needed was to go back to the Conference - consolidation was everything. Come the end of the season we just kept going, winning promotion with a week to spare. If we were punching above our weight last year, this coming season we’ll be like Alexander Hleb going against Gazza in a pie eating contest. You never know though, Graham Turner has an amazing knack of bringing in young talent and producing almost a new team each season. My heart says we’ll survive but my head says we’ll struggle. We drew and beat Leeds last year but it’s different in the cups, and they'll probably finish fifty points above us. Prediction – Relegation.

Tennessee Titans – Last season the Titans made the play-offs after a heavy loss of players preseason. They’ve got a quarterback in Vince Young who has the potential to be one of the best in the NFL but last term the Titans were exactly an offensive outfit. To make the most of his talent the offensive co-ordinator needs to up his game and get some points on the board. Defensively they were sound but there looks to be uncertainty about Albert Haynesworth which would be a bit blow if he left. Prediction – Play-offs via a Wildcard.

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